Tools for Thought

Graphic Organizers by Jim Burke

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Teaching With Tools

Tools include, but are not limited to:

  • Words • Individual words • Sentences/Statements • Passages • Texts • Questions
  • Images • Painting/Sculpture • Photographic • Advertisements • Film/Video • Multimedia
  • Graphic Organizers • Thinking Maps • Graphic Organizers • Advance Organizers Structured Notes
  • Visual Explanations • Diagrams • Graphs • Charts • Shapes

Research says that effective use of tools:

  • Helps struggling students and those with special needs by providing structure and support
  • Supports English Learners by helping them see how information is organized and giving them a more visual means of understanding or conveying ideas •
  • Increases engagement by providing ways for cognitive collaboration on academic tasks
  • Achieves more sophisticated thinking by asking students to analyze, organize, and synthesize
  • Improves comprehension by allowing students to analyze text structure and connections
  • Enhances memory through organization of information
  • Promotes generative thinking and scaffolding
  • Stimulates the brain by activating the brain’s need to impose order and find patterns

Teachers use tools effectively when they use them:

• Before, during, and after a primary activity such as reading

• With individuals, pairs, groups, and the full class as appropriate

•To generate, organize, analyze, and synthesize

• To prepare to read, write, speak, or learn

• To create organization on information that lacks order

• Not as the end but a means for the learning

• Demonstrate for students how to use them

• Not automatically but when it is efficient and appropriate

• For all but especially English Learners and those with learning differences

• In ways that allow for metacognitive processing of their learning from and use of tools